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What Living Abroad With Depression Is Like

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Living abroad with depression is when your roommates ask why you sleep so much, and you’re too ashamed to answer.

Living abroad with depression is panic attacks at the gym where no one else looks like you, and the stares seem unrelenting.

Living abroad with depression is late nights of questioning everything you ever believed, wondering if anything you do will be worthwhile or helpful.

It’s trying to defend how depression really is an illness, but you feel too tired to fight the same fights. It’s that voice telling you that you’ll always be alone and your opinions can never hold any weight.

When you’re asked why you write self-affirming statements on your bedroom white board, because you need the visual reminder or else you won’t remember.

It’s frustration when you can’t understand the language and hopelessness when the locals laugh when you try to speak it. Trust me, I’d like to just resort to French too.

It’s constant frustration when available taxis pass you by for no apparent reason. The angry hairs stand on your head as you get more stares. You want to just scream, “What are you looking at! Mind your own damn business!”

The feeling that you could never relate to anyone here, even other expats. Watching funny YouTube videos instead of listening to your language recordings because your brain needs to be deflate.

Living abroad with depression is hoping the video chat with your mom is blurry so she won’t see you cry. It’s craving Chick-Fil-A and diet coke. And your dad’s hugs.

It’s your anxiety saying you should have done a better job of providing closure to all the friendships you left behind. Telling you most of them probably won’t be there when you come back.

It’s strangely hoping to wake up early with a panic attack. At least then you have an excuse to be productive in the mornings. Wondering how you could still have wanderlust, when you clearly still have culture shock.

Living abroad with depression is hoping that girl you like still likes you once she knows how “crazy” you are. Fighting that negative voice that tells you she won’t.

Living abroad with depression is a fight, and probably the greatest thing I’ll ever do.

Follow this journey here.

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Getty image via DragonImages

Originally published: November 23, 2017
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